A Pause for Heritage Day – National Braai Day
By: Guest Author
There are few things that South Africans hold dearer than braai culture, though to the foreigner, braais are suspiciously similar to barbecues. And 24 September is a day where it would be terribly unpatriotic not to braai (or barbecue as this Aussie intends doing).
Of course, should you be vegetarian, banned from wielding tongs, or wishing to shirk washing up responsibilities, here’s a selection of events happening around the country on Heritage Day:
Is it too soon for jokes about Japan steamrolling another South African stronghold?
In all seriousness, Capetonians love their sushi. The rolls seem to be popping up as entrees in the most obscure places – I’m talking Indian and Italian restaurants. But The Piano Bar are going one step further down the fusion road and launching ‘African Sushi’ on the Night Before Heritage Day. The menu is slated to include combinations like boerwors and olives, washed down with brandy & coke. If you’re ready to forgive the Brave Blossoms, this is certainly one of the more unique ways to spend your public holiday.
If the pain is too raw (pun intended) there are a host of other fabulous events happening in Cape Town this weekend. Check out Cape Town Magazine for more info.
Hawaii Meets Soweto
Given Heritage Day is all about celebrating diversity, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s so much fusion on the menu. If you’ve ever dreamt of lying on a beach chair, sipping pina coladas and noshing on chesa nyama, then get yourself to Walter Sisulu Square for #Sowaii.
Durban Street Food Festival
This is another event that’s all about the diversity; a chance to “experience the melting pot of flavours that made Durban the smorgasbord it is today.” That said, in a quintessentially South African turn, the festival will also be the scene of comedian Masood Boomgard’s attempt to break the world record for the longest braai attempt, a mere 80 hours.
Northern Culture and Heritage Festival
In an area that has been ravaged by crime, the community have decided to take the power back by celebrating the cultures of the area. Featuring games, traditional food stalls, a parade, sports and music, the Northern Culture and Heritage Festival is the epitome of the Heritage Day spirit and one to pencil in the calendar.
Like most holidays, the genesis of Heritage Day runs deeper than charred meat. Since 1995 the main aim of the day has been for South Africans to connect in the face of their differences; an embodiment of Mandela’s longed for Rainbow Nation.* With many considering the urge to braai in celebration as the one connecting feature that transcends boundaries, perhaps it is indeed the most appropriate way to honour his dreams.
We just ask that whatever you choose to do this Thursday, ensure you take a pause for Heritage Day – a pause to reflect on how very special it would be if South Africa could march forward in harmony, Weber at the ready.
Enjoy those boerie rolls!
*NB. Prior to 1995, 24 September was known as Shaka Day in Kwa Zulu Natal.